Newcastle v MAN CITY – THE PREVIEW – Team News and Prediction

24 Dec

Boxing Day last year was the date for Roberto Mancini’s first match in charge of Man City and looking back at that fixture, it’s amazing to think of the progress we have made in just one year. The stylish Italian led us to an impressive 2-0 defeat of Stoke, with a side that contained Sylvinho, Stephen Ireland, Martin Petrov and Robinho. No disrespect to that quartet, who all served the Blues with varying degrees of success, but looking at the team which could face Newcastle on Sunday, and all the signs are positive for the future.

Despite Monday’s disappointing defeat to Everton, where some appalling defending cost us the game, I remain confident that this can be a successful season, hopefully complete with a trophy, whether it be FA Cup, Europa League or Premier League. But before getting too far ahead of ourselves, we must concentrate on this game; a visit to St James’ Park to face a mercurial Newcastle side.

Just when the Magpies thought that stability was being found at their club, their repulsive owner Mike Ashley decimated all their hopes by sacking the unfortunate Chris Hughton, who had overseen their promotion back into the top flight and had exceeded expectations this campaign by guiding them to the relative comfort of mid-table. But then Ashley struck and decided that Hughton ought to leave and in his place came Alan Pardew, the former Charlton manager.

Pardew, in his first game, was victorious over Liverpool after his side, who afterwards dedicated the win to Hughton, produced a mightily impressive performance. But against City, they face a team who have been magnificent away from home recently, with wins against West Brom, Fulham and West Ham testament to our good form.

Roberto Mancini faces a tough balancing act as he prepares for a hectic festive period, when the Blues will play five matches within the space of fifteen days, so the Italian must decide whether to rotate and if he opts for that, who and when. For this fixture, Kolo Touré is suspended after two yellow cards against Everton, so Joleon Lescott and Jérome Boateng are competing to partner Vincent Kompany, whilst I would expect Adam Johnson to replace Mario Balotelli.

Nigel de Jong, suspended for the Everton game, will replace James Milner in central midfield and can expect to receive a barrage of abuse from the home fans for his tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa in the game at Eastlands.

This is the team which Mancini may play:

                                                     Hart

Zabaleta               Boateng                 Kompany              Kolarov

                                 de Jong                    Barry
                                                  Y. Toure

A. Johnson                                                                               Silva
                                                    Tévez

Subs: Given, Richards, Lescott, Vieira, Milner, Balotelli, Jo

Key Battle

Joey Barton v Gareth Barry

Barton, whose time at City was a mélange of great performances and off-field problems, has had a superb season so far and will look to continue his impressive form on Sunday. He is usually stationed on the right wing but with a licence to roam and become more involved so Barry, starting in a more central area, will have to watch that. Gareth was outstanding against Everton, putting in a swashbuckling performance and will hope to reproduce something of a similar ilk.

Referee: Chris Foy – He was the official for the recent Manchester derby where I thought he did a competent job. Let’s hope he can repeat that performance on Sunday.

Prediction: Newcastle 1 – 2 MAN CITY – The home side haven’t played for a couple of weeks due to the weather so may be rusty. I think it will be quite an entertaining affair, with goals to be scored by Andy Carroll, Carlos Tévez and David Silva.

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One Response to “Newcastle v MAN CITY – THE PREVIEW – Team News and Prediction”

  1. Kev 24/12/2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Could well be right about us being rusty, but I think we might we well up for it.
    Barton could run riot against Barry if given chance, and Barry is so overrated it’s not funny!

    As for Silva, not sure he’ll get going in a cold St.James’ Park. This game will suit both our and yere big men.
    Likes of de Jong, Kompany, Carroll, Tioté.
    Sure to be an interesting affair anyway!

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